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Graft depriving our children their rights

Friday March 15 2019

Pokotom Primary School

Pupils in one of the classrooms at Pokotom Primary School in Turkana West sub-county. Secondary school students sit in the next building. PHOTO | ANGELA OKETCH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Did you read the story of Pokotom School in last week’s Saturday Nation? Pokotom School has a nursery section, primary and secondary schools all in one compound!

It has 1,600 students, with 10 teachers for the primary school, who also tutor the students in high school. While there’s a nationwide shortage of 37,643 teachers in primary schools and 49,750 in secondary schools, this pupil to teacher ratio is incomprehensible.


Pokotom has no books, unless you consider four chemistry textbooks shared by over 300 students in Form One and Form Two adequate. It gets worse: there are no laboratories and no electricity either. One wonders how students used the now abandoned tablets, but no bother; they will now get a computer laboratory. Alas, there is still no electricity to service the computer lab.

With a few old and broken desks, most students sit on the floor!

We’ve certainly got the right to ‘free and compulsory education’ down to a tee. It’s not about the quality of education kids, it's the fact that it's being provided.

We are the same country that prides itself as East Africa’s economic hub, playing host to the UN Environment Assembly and borrowing billions for development. How then can we not afford to give our children the basic right to education?

Oh but we can, and we always have. Think of all the billions we know of that have been lost to corruption. They could have built classrooms, paid for desks and the prerequisite for education, books.

It is no wonder there’s a rallying call for the death penalty for those convicted of corruption.


If you deny thousands a right to education and by extension a way out of poverty, making them enslaved to poverty for life, you should be prepared to pay for your sins.

We are in debt up to our eyeballs with nothing to show for it but some thickets, and children from Pokotom who haven’t borne sight of ‘development’ will have to pay for your lavish upkeep for years to come.

Pokotom is just one example of how corruption is depriving our children of their rights; add to this the billions of shillings lost in health resulting in deaths of many that could not access treatment.

While I don’t agree with the death sentence for corruption, the sentiments behind it are hard to argue with. But I’d rather we have asset recovery and a life sentence. Live a long solitary life reflecting on how you almost got away with it.

The writer focuses on children’s issues; [email protected]